Filmmaker Nishikant Kamat died on Monday at a hospital in Hyderabad, where he had been undergoing treatment for a chronic liver ailment since July 31, according to reports. He was 50.
Kamat’s most recent movie was 2015’s Drishyam, the successful Hindi remake of the Malayalam-language thriller of the same name. His films include Dombivali Fast (2005) and the blockbuster Lai Bhaari (2014) in Marathi and Mumbai Meri Jaan (2008) and Force (2011) in Hindi.
Kamat’s films were often unacknowledged or official remakes. In several of his movies, the protagonist was a heroic and determined man out to fight injustice for the sake of his loved ones.
In Force, a remake of the Tamil hit Kaakha Kaakha (2003), a cop locks horns with a dreaded gangster. In Rocky Handsome (2016), remade from the 2010 South Korean film The Man from Nowhere, an ex-special forces agent takes on a drug mafia when they kidnap a little girl close to him. In Drishyam, an unassuming man goes to great lengths to protect his family from the glare of the law.
In Madaari (2016), produced by and starring Irrfan, yet another commoner turns into a vigilante to avenge the death of his son, for which he blames the corrupt government.
Kamat’s directorial debut, Dombivali Fast, relocated the Hollywood vigilante drama Falling Down to Mumbai. Sandeep Kulkarni played a bank employee who is driven to criminal behaviour by rampant corruption. In 2007, Kamat directed the Tamil remake Evano Oruvan, with R Madhavan in the lead.
In 2008, Kamat made his first Hindi-language film, Mumbai Meri Jaan. The ensemble drama, revolving around the 2006 train bombings, had a sprawling cast that included Irrfan, Kay Kay Menon, Soha Ali Khan and Paresh Rawal.
Lai Bhaari in 2014 marked Kamat’s return to Marathi cinema. The film starred Riteish Deshmukh as a street brawler who takes on an oppressive local strongman. Lai Bhaari was the highest-grossing Marathi film at the time until it was surpassed by Sairat two years later.
Kamat had begun his career as an actor with Saatchya Aat Gharat and the unreleased independent feature Hava Aney Dey in 2004. Alongside making films, he appeared in roles, often playing a villain.
In 404 Error Not Found (2011), Kamat’s professor manipulates his students for an experiment. In the Arun Gawli biopic Daddy (2017), Kamat is a cynical police officer who targets the gangster.
In Bhavesh Joshi Superhero (2018), Kamat is an unscrupulous politician who has to stave off the wrath of a wronged vigilante, much like the heroes of his movies.